‘It just overtakes your lungs’: Massive fish kills frustrating SWFL

Published: Updated:
Chris O’Neill

Dead fish have been piling up on many Southwest Florida beaches lately, and some neighbors say it’s the worst they’ve seen in a while.

via Chris O’Neill

Photos taken of massive fish kills near Englewood show how big the problem is becoming.

“It just overtakes your lungs, cough, difficult to breathe. And constant fish smell,” said neighbor Mike Burk.

The dead fish are washing ashore by the hundreds along Englewood Beach as red tide continues to take its toll on the coast.

And as the July Fourth holiday weekend concludes, beaches on Manasota Key were left mostly deserted.

“The beach is dead. Literally and figuratively. I mean there’s obviously dead fish, but most weekends there are people here—even on the holiday weekend, you would see the condos and hotels…they’re kinda empty, and the beach itself, there’s nobody there,” Burk said.

Craig Hickok runs a jet ski rental business next to the Englewood Bridge. He says he’s been losing customers over the past three weeks due to poor water quality and stinky fish.

“This is pretty bad because it blew in and it won’t blow out of here. Usually it comes in, kills a bunch of fish, and blows out. Now it’s just stuck in here a little bit,” Hickok said.

He and many others are now hoping elected officials come up with a plan to fix the red tide problem once and for all.

“Hopefully it’s mentioned in the governor’s race coming up. I think it needs to be,” Hickok said.

“I don’t know what agencies are studying this,” Burk added. “But it doesn’t seem like it’s getting better.”

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